I called and left a message to rsvp, thanking the mom for inviting Max, and also explaining that Max is Autistic, and that he will probably enjoy it, but if he is having a hard day that I hoped they wouldn't take offense if he wasn't able to stay for the entire party. It is important to me to give Max the same opportunities that his peers get, that he be included. The older he gets, the more likely it is that he will get excluded for being different. I hope and pray and wish for that not to be true, but I know that as kids get older, they are less accepting of kids who don't "fit in".
For now, Max seems to be well liked by the kids at his daycare. They don't mind that he doesn't really play with them. They accept that he seems to get special treatment at times, and that he gets visits from special teachers that are only there to see him, and not everyone else. They don't hold it against him when he acts disruptive, and they don't question that Max gets picked up during nap time every day. He even gets the odd hug from the girls in the room (we can't expect them to resist such a handsome boy now, can we?).
When I look back at pictures of Max as a baby, I remember very clearly all of my hopes and dreams for Max. I still have hopes and dreams for him, but they are different from what they used to be. I just want him to be happy, feel loved, and to have all the opportunities in the world. I never want him to feel like he doesn't fit, or that nobody "gets" him. I never want him to lose that smile, that pure heart. I want him to be surrounded by people that see all of his beauty and promise and love him for everything he is. These are the things I wish for.